Bayad El Arab, a small Egyptian village on the east side of the Nile, was an unforgettable place to work and live. Susan and I were there between 1978 and 1982, first with Mark and Jean Poole, and later with Ike and Charlene Powell, and a wonderful team of others from Egypt and around the world. When we arrived, our son Dietrich was a few months old, and daughter Gretchen was five.
Here are a couple of short essays from that period. I hope others capture some thoughts here about both the past and the future of Egypt.
I'll Bet You a Dollar
This story was written as a response for a call for anecdotes from ICA life a few years back.
An Advent Reflection ... A Ramadan Memory
My church asked me to write a contribution for a book of advent meditations based on a Bible verse from Isaiah and strangely, this was the memory that came to me. On the face of it, this story has nothing to do with Advent at all , and at the time, I would never have used a religious metaphor of this kind ... but today it seems hauntingly appropriate.
- 03 Jun 2006
- Sunset Over Bayad El Arab around 1980
The picture is taken toward the west from a position not far from the Nile river, probably from the roof or balcony of the Coptic Monestary (now a major retreat center). You can see the Mosque on the left, which was built not long before the picture was taken, and the water tower build by the Bayad Human Development Project on the right. Just beyond the village is desert stretching for miles. The east side of the Nile near Bayad has just a narrow strip of green fields, and then desert. The village itself is built on the desert.
* Girls at a Bayad Hanafaya (Water Tap):
The Bayad water project not only brought clean water, but it dramatically reduced the workload of those who carried water, since no place in the village was far from one of these public water taps. Previously these women and girls had to walk half a mile to get dirty water from the Nile.
- A Bayad Water Station Near the Nile
- Wegner Family in Bayad, 1978
Ah youth! Today Susan weighs less and I weigh more, we both have shorter hair, and, of course, our children Dietrich and Gretchen are adults. Makes me wonder about the Bayad kids in the other pictures and what they are doing.
- Assignments Area Cairo 1979-80: